lever

1 of 2

noun

le·​ver ˈle-vər How to pronounce lever (audio) ˈlē- How to pronounce lever (audio)
1
a
: a bar used for prying or dislodging something
b
: an inducing or compelling force : tool
use food as a political lever Time
2
a
: a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or motion when forces are applied at two points and it turns about a third
specifically : a rigid bar used to exert a pressure or sustain a weight at one point of its length by the application of a force at a second and turning at a third on a fulcrum
b
: a projecting piece by which a mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) is operated or adjusted

Illustration of lever

Illustration of lever
  • lever 2a

lever

2 of 2

verb

levered; levering ˈle-və-riŋ How to pronounce lever (audio)
ˈlē-;
ˈlev-riŋ,
ˈlēv-

transitive verb

1
: to pry, raise, or move with or as if with a lever
2
: to operate (a device) in the manner of a lever

Example Sentences

Noun They used their money as a lever to gain political power. Verb He levered the rock out of the hole. the workers used crowbars to lever the heavy stone block into its new position
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Rising productivity is a key lever against inflation, as workers producing more with less allows for relief from rising prices. Taylor Telford, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Oct. 2022 This is one lever China could use to retaliate, according to industry experts. Karen Hao, WSJ, 23 Oct. 2022 The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic whose distinctive BMW-issue gear lever pops out of a new center console—a symbol of Morgan's brave new world. Jamie Kitman, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2022 This interior lever door handle from Schlage complements the transitional style of the house. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, 15 Nov. 2022 The manual machine, which looks a little like a vintage juice press, extracts one shot of espresso at a time using a long lever and some elbow grease. Lauren Joseph, Bon Appétit, 13 Nov. 2022 But Greg Davis, one of the few Missaukee voters who pulled a lever for Biden in 2020 said the economy isn’t the real issue. Freep.com, 5 Nov. 2022 Another trust-building lever is investing in a performance guarantee for A.I. Shervin Khodabandeh, Fortune, 4 Nov. 2022 Safety features include a lever to keep users from inadvertently engaging the chain and auto-shutdown when the saw hasn't been in use, which is great for both safety and preserving battery life. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Oct. 2022
Verb
Unfortunately for Putin, besides the Cassandra-like handwringing of some misguided media commentators, there remains little evidence that his efforts to lever energy as the wedge to divide civil society are paying any concrete dividends. Steven Tian, Fortune, 25 July 2022 If so, squeeze the brake lever several times to see if the pistons retract. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, 3 June 2020 No sensible business school professor would advocate that the CEO of a Fortune 500 company should lever his personal fortune to buy a completely unrelated, money-losing business. Anne Sraders, Fortune, 30 Apr. 2022 Separating the couples took forces up to 80 times a male’s body weight—like using an African elephant to lever a 150-pound person out of a hug. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 14 Mar. 2022 Per a recent strategic plan, the company is slated to raise $7 billion and de-lever its balance sheet by selling a part of the Lottery and Sports Betting businesses. Trefis Team, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2022 That follows efforts to ease mortgage lending in October, as well as efforts to permit stronger developers to lever back up in the domestic bond market to take over projects from weaker ones. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2021 The deal represents Skyworks’ largest acquisition on record and is more than double its last reported cash balance of $1 billion, requiring the currently debt-free chip maker to lever up. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2021 Gradually raising capital standards would de-lever the financial system, reducing the risk of future bailouts and limiting one way the super-rich in the financial sector magnify their wealth. Robert Stein, National Review, 15 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French levier, lever, from lever to raise, from Latin levare, from levis light in weight — more at light

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lever was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lever

Cite this Entry

“Lever.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lever. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

lever 1 of 2

noun

1
: a bar used to pry or move something
2
: a stiff bar for applying a force (as for lifting a weight) at one point of its length by effort at a second point and turning at a third point on a fulcrum
3
: a bar or rod used to run or adjust something
a gearshift lever

lever

2 of 2

verb

levered; levering ˈlev-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce lever (audio)
ˈlēv-
: to pry, raise, or move with a lever

More from Merriam-Webster on lever

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